Press conference to announce anti nuclear energy protest in Chile. Photo: Greenpeace Chile.
Although Latin American countries rely lightly on nuclear power (only Argentina, Brazil and Mexico have plants, which represent only 2% of the region's energy production), many countries had plans for new plants until this week: namely Chile, Ecuador and Venezuela, apart from expansion plans in the countries that already have centrals.
In front of the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima plant in Japan, Venezuela has already stepped back with its plans, but Chile -a country not only prone to earthquakes but that suffered one little more than a year ago- is not walking the same path.While the Chilean foreign minister, Alfredo Moreno, is advising its citizens to get out of Japan due to the nuclear threat, he is also one day away from signing a nuclear cooperation agreement with the U.S. embassy in Santiago.
According to Reuters, the president of the country, Sebastian Pinera, defended this move by saying that "Chile needs to learn about nuclear energy," and that the country "can't be afraid to learn ... about all sources of energy."
Even if no decision on whether to adopt nuclear power will be taken until 2014, Greenpeace Chile is undertaking a campaign to ask the government to stop considering nuclear and to support the development of clean sustainable energy, calling for a massive protest this Sunday in Santiago and Monday in other regions of the country.
Like all Latin American countries, Chile needs to increase energy production to keep up with its growing demand: it needs to double its supply in 10 years.
With fears over a meltdown at Fukushima growing, nuclear technicians in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico came out to ease the public about the danger of their plants.
In an article at AFP, they assured that all the plants in these countries are in areas with little to none seismic activity and that they comply with all the security requirements.
Still, the Japan crisis will sure have an effect on the public opinion and cool down the excitement about this kind of energy in the region.